That is right, it is now time to play the Feud, or you know, probably not. It would appear that UMI Mobile is the chosen publisher to bring us a new free-to-play Family Feud Android game. While I would love to say I am surprised to see that this title contains in-app purchases, two currencies, advertisements, and a subscription fee of $4.99 a month for VIP status, it was only inevitable that this is how someone would handle the release of this franchise onto mobile. So strap in folks, this is gonna be a bumpy ride.
Okay, so I am sure just about every one of you is familiar with Family Feud. If not, it is a trivia game show where teams of contestants compete against one another guessing answers to prosaic questions. The top answers to each question earn the highest points, and the team with the highest points wins the game and a chance for a cash bonus by playing the Fast Money round.
Family Feud Live! differs from the TV show setup. Obviously, you will not be playing on teams. This is strictly a one-on-one affair. Once you boot up the game, you will notice that there are three separate modes to choose from - Classic, Tournament, and Fast Money. Classic is a three round mode where you play against one opponent through three different questions for increasing points. Tournament is a bit different as you will play three rounds again, but this time against three different opponents. If you lose any of the rounds, the tournament is over. Last we have Fast Money, where you go head to head against one opponent answering five questions as quickly as possible. Whoever answers the majority of the highest rated answers wins the game.
From the outset, these three game modes sound innocuous enough. But once you dive in, you will see how poorly the answering mechanic works. You see, you have to type in each and every answer you want to guess. The problem with this setup begins when you realize that manually typed in words more often than not will not work. You need to select from four pre-defined words (or a combination of words) as you type. So say you want your answer to be "toilet paper." If the answer is toilet, your manually typed words will not work. This forces you only ever to use the pre-defined words that pop up as you type. While you quickly learn this is the proper way to play the game, it is not once ever explained that manually typed words are useless.
Now, before I dive into the monetization issues, I could not help but notice that Steve Harvey's likeness is nowhere to be seen in this release. It would appear that Jeopardy! World Tour had no such problem allowing the likeness of the mustacheless Alex Trebek. I wonder why it is that Steve Harvey did not make the cut? Maybe it is the mustache that is holding Steve back?
All kidding aside, Family Feud Live! is most definitely rife with problems. Forgetting the issue with typing answers, it is the monetization of this game that is the most insulting. First off, the in-app purchases reach up to $94.99 per item. From what I have seen so far, they are used for purchasing coins, which brings me to the next issue. There are two currencies in this game - coins and tickets. The coins you earn easily enough while playing. You may eventually hit a paywall, but so far I have not run into it. Now, the tickets, on the other hand, are way more difficult to earn. A ticket will be used each and every time you play a round in the game. As you can imagine, these run out pretty quickly. What I find funny about this is the fact that Family Feud Live! wants people to pay a subscription fee of $4.99 monthly to earn more tickets. I don't know about y'all, but I have yet to meet many games that warrant a subscription fee, especially on mobile.
While I am sure this ridiculous game will be a success, the majority of us who are looking for a quality gaming experience will just pass this up just like the rest of its IAP laden brethren. Honestly, I feel dirty even having played this joke of a release. Maybe some of you can find a redeeming element in Family Feud Live!, but for me, I just can't see where this blatant cash grab could ever find a way to waste any more of my time.